The Mind of the Historian

Causation in Philosophy of History: A Case Study in Perso-Islamic Historiography

Non-Fiction - Historical
202 Pages
Reviewed on 12/29/2011
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Robert Rose for Readers' Favorite

Since 9/11 the fears of Muslims attacking Americans provoked the creation of the PATRIOT ACT. The very name meant that to disagree with it made you un-American. This has morphed into the most egregious violations of our Constitutional rights since Joseph McCarthy’s efforts to destroy them to save us from Communism. It has given bureaucrats and law enforcement the unlicensed rights to make mockery of our rights, while convincing us that “It’s for your own good.” Didn’t we learn what that meant with our parents and schools? Part of this is the public’s (as well as leadership’s) woeful ignorance of the Koran and the real beliefs and behaviors of most Muslims.

Ali Parsi took his UCLA doctoral dissertation and has made it into a book. It is scrupulously researched and demonstrates his scholarship. However, I don’t see it becoming a best seller, which is sad because reading (and understanding) it could allay many of our unreasonable fears of those who profess to follow Islam. It could also help to see the basis of how it is used (as some Jewish and Christian believers do with their religious books) to justify passages that do encourage terrible things to be done in the name of God or Allah. In the hands of fanatics the good in their books is ignored while the bad is glorified and used destructively.

Equally important is that his goal to understand causation in history takes us beyond the simplistic great man or great events theories. Ali divides causes into two main categories of deterministic and indeterministic. Each of these is subdivided into individual, social, natural, and divine causes. He develops each by giving many very specific examples based on the writings of Arab and Muslim historians. The names may be difficult to remember, but the concepts become clearer as the examples fit with the philosophy in the beginning of the book and his efforts to demonstrate each cause.

Despite that it reads like a doctoral dissertation he gets the reader thinking about the validity and reliability of historical sources from any era, religion, or country. That said, it reminds us that the Islamic conquests of much of the world were similar to what happened under the Romans as the Muslims brought back much of the best from the Greeks and Romans. Many of the conquerors, like the Romans, administered justice to the conquered as they did fairly with their own people.

In his explanations of causation we should understand that there are many interpretations of any historical work. Understanding their various causes may help us to better accept our differences and be prepared to deal forcefully with people from any religion who dominate or destroy others as well as to cooperate with those who wish to live in peace.